An astute reader pointed out an error in an earlier post. It seems I overlooked an example of a good king producing another good king. Consider the succession of Asa (1 Kings 15) and Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. Yet the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.
1 Kings 22:41-44 (ESV)
I don’t think Jehoshaphat greatly undermines my points in the earlier post, but instead seems to be an exception to the rule. It is still good to acknowledge both my shortcomings and to set the record straight. I do not want to be guilty of distorting Scripture.
It is a wise practice to verify any teaching we receive. This applies in all areas of our lives. We have recently taken to checking our GPS against a map as sometimes it wants to take us on a less than direct route.
It is imperative for those of us who preach or teach to exercise diligence to ensure we are not passing on bad information to our hearers or readers. When I had been preaching for less than a year, I remember being gripped with fear as I looked up from the pulpit one day and realized, “They are really listening to me.” It is a lofty responsibility to be leading other souls.
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
James 3:1 (ESV)
We don’t have time to verify everything we read or hear. It’s just not possible. Since this is true in our own lives, we must also be aware of it in the lives of those we teach. They will assume we know what we are talking about.
I once listened to a tape of a sermon by a well-known pastor where he offered an explanation of a point in a story in the Old Testament that helped clarify why it occurred. It was the kind of little gem that teachers long to be able to pass on. But there was one problem; as I started looking at the story in question and the related passages, there was nothing to support his assertion. As far as I could tell, he had made it up to “tidy up” a puzzling detail of the story.
May those of us who preach and teach be diligent to never do such a thing intentionally and to be humble enough to receive correction when we do it unintentionally.